Hot tub injuries on the rise

By • Published: February 5th, 2010
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

More Americans are taking a dip in hot tubs these days, and the results are flowing over to hospital emergency departments.

A study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found the number of hot tub-related injuries jumped one-hundred-sixty percent between 1990 and 2007. This figure does not include deaths resulting from hot tub injuries.

Much of the medical community’s research on hot tubs has focused on diseases spread through their use, but researchers from Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Ohio say injuries are on the rise and should be studied, too.

People older than sixteen were the most frequent victims of hot tub injuries, and more people suffered damage to their lower extremities than to any other body part. Head injuries were the next most frequent incident.

Most people were hurt when they fell, though kids under six were more likely to almost drown. Most injuries reported happened at homes.

But soaking in hot tubs can still be a safe, relaxing pastime.

Congress has acted in recent years to reduce certain kinds of injuries stemming from hot tub use. As of 2008, for example, covers on hot tub drains must meet national safety standards to help prevent hair and other objects from becoming stuck in them.

It’s important to make sure surfaces around a hot tub are non-slip, according to the Association of Pool and Spa Professionals. The association also recommends keeping clutter away from the area to reduce the risk of slip and fall accidents. And people should avoid drinking alcohol before or while using a hot tub. These measures can help ensure a little R&R… instead of an unplanned trip to the E-R.